What are the rules for putting your bins out? Londoner hit with £400 fine for leaving out on wrong day

·2-min read
A Londoner was fined £400 for putting her bins out on the wrong day. (Getty Images)
A Londoner was fined £400 for putting her bins out on the wrong day. (Getty Images)

A Londoner revealed she was fined £400 by Waltham Forest council for putting her bins out on the wrong day, and was even threatened with prosecution.

Twitter user blixberrie said: “I received a £400 fine from [Waltham Forest Council] l because I put my bins out on the wrong day.

“I need people to really deep how much that is. If I didn’t pay it within 28 days they would have taken me to court and slapped me with a criminal record?”

She said: “There is absolutely no reason why ANYONE should be subjected to such a fine for something like that? It’s pure greed plain and simple.

“Some people don’t even spend that much on food for a f****** month and you want to threaten court proceedings? Shameful nasty beings [Waltham Forest council].”

What are the rules around ‘fly-tipping’ in London?

Waltham Forest’s website says it considers “black rubbish sacks left on the street on non-collection days” to be fly-tipping, which is the illegal dumping of waste.

The council’s website confirms that it can hit fly-tippers with a fixed penalty notice of £400 or can prosecute, adding: “If convicted, the person can be issued with unlimited fines and a custodial sentence of up to 3 years.”

However, in August 2022, Haringey Council was ordered to issue refunds to residents who had been fined for leaving rubbish out on the wrong day or for missing their collection slot, as reported by MyLondon.

The Local Government Ombudsman found it was “not proportionate or in the spirit of the government guidance to treat rubbish left out 35 minutes early as fly-tipping, which is a criminal offence”.

Furthermore, government guidance on the Environmental Protection Act says councils should issue a written warning for minor problems, such as leaving rubbish out early, before imposing fines.

Government guidance explains: “The Government wishes to encourage a measured and balanced approach, where householders are not penalised for minor breaches of waste bin rules.

“The use of these penalties should focus on those who cause genuine harm to the local environment.

“It is good practice to try and inform the household about any issues on the presentation of their waste bins. For example, you could use a letter or information notice. You should do this before moving to the process of issuing penalty notices outlined here.”